From Conception to Reality

No, I’m not pregnant. I know that’s probably what you were thinking when you saw the title. However, what is happening in my life right now feels similar to pregnancy. Let me explain.

Brody and I bought our house just over seven years ago. He had finished law school a year before, and I was wrapping up student teaching. We only looked at a few houses, found this one, and bought it for the asking price. That was May 2007. And then the recession hit.

When we bought the house, we didn’t think about how long we’d be in it, the school district, etc. We liked it, so we bought it. Now with two large dogs, a kid, and me watching other littles, more space would be nice. Also, we enjoy hosting our families for holidays and would like to have enough bedrooms for most of them.

So, after talking about it for a year, we put our house on the market.

On Tuesday, July 1, it went “live” (i.e. It was on MLS).

On Thursday, July 3, the sign in the front yard went up.

On Tuesday, July 8, we had our second ever showing.

On Thursday, July 10, we had an offer (from the second showing people).

Now here’s my pregnancy analogy:

When I took the pregnancy test and it was positive, it was such a unique feeling. I (and if I can speak for Brody too) was excited, scared, happy, and lots of other emotions. When Brody told me we had an offer, I felt almost the same way. Up until that moment, selling and moving had been a topic of discussion, an idea. Now, it was happening. Life was going to change.

With this big moment, however, came some sadness. I’ll miss neighbors, the comfort of our space, being close to good friends in Sun Prairie and lots of stores, the PAC, and even the three mile running loop I’ve done a gazillion times.

The selling of our house is moving (pun intended) along well. The inspection is happening right now, and the appraisal is this afternoon. We’ll be (again, hopefully) closing August 18 with a move out date of August 15. Obviously it’s not sold until then, and I’m aware offers can fall through. I don’t even want to think about that, though.

Aside from the shock and stress of selling our house so quickly, we have no new house to move into. Brody is exploring temporary housing options, and we’ll continue to look at houses that come on the market in our desired area. Unfortunately, lots of the houses in our price range and with our must-haves have sold in the past couple months, and the rate of new houses for sale is slowing down. As many people have told us, this is a good problem to have. I don’t like “good” problems.

So that’s where I’m at. Many of you who know me in real life may not know this was going on. It’s been such a whirlwind that I’ve been horrible at returning calls (Claire, Susan, and Tina – I’m sorry!!!). Also, I think Brody and I haven’t wanted to jinx anything by sharing via FB.

Things will work out, and like my friend Jena said, one day we’ll look back at this time and say “Remember when…”

And just because, here are a few Finley pictures.






Another Cottage Weekend

The weather this past weekend was SO much nicer than two weeks ago, and Finley was able to get into the lake and enjoy the water. Yah lake baby!

She kayaked…



and floated…




and played on the beach.


She also ate yummy food (pretty much all fruit) al fresco…


and enjoyed an adult beverage (she didn’t drink any).


Brody and I got our long run in while we were up there also. We ran from the cottage to and around Paya Lake and back, which was almost eight miles. I could tell within the first minute that I was going to have a good run, and I did. It was hilly, but it’s good training because our area here is so flat. This was the first run where we took fuel; we took turns holding the handheld water bottle filled with Blueberry Pomegranate GU Brew drink mix, and then at 4.5 miles, we ate our GUs.

The only negative parts of the weekend were Finley’s sleeping (fighting naps and night wakings) and Frankie puking (he must’ve eaten something funky Thursday night). Otherwise we had a fantastic time!

Eating Paleo/Primal

The first time I heard about Paleo was about four (or more?) years ago. Brody’s buddy from Chicago was visiting and had started doing this crazy workout called Crossfit and not eating grains. Say what? I recall being baffled by the “diet” and I likely told him I could never do that.

Then, just over a year ago, our friends, Mel and Tim (the couple I trained for the marathon with) started eating this way. I still could not see myself ever giving up bread (what would I have for breakfast?!?!), pasta, or pita chips.

This spring, a few things led to Brody and I overhauling our diet:

1) I became more knowledgeable about eating grains and gluten. I listen to the Balanced Bites podcast every week (often while I’m driving or working out), I read Eat the Yolks, and I subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple.

2) Our friends Bridget and JP did a vegan cleanse in the late winter as part of Bridget’s yoga teacher training. This inspired Brody to do something similar.

3) This was a tough winter, and although I was able to get to the gym and do at-home workouts regularly, Brody struggled to find time to exercise. Finley goes to bed at 7pm, and Brody would go in to work by 6:45/7am most days so he could be home by 5:30pm to see Finley. Come spring, he wasn’t feeling healthy.

4) Brody went to Texas for the Final Four games. At this point, we had been tossing around the idea of going Paleo/Primal for a couple months. I had actually already begun to cut out a good amount of grains from my diet, but Brody had not. While he was gone, he asked me to purge our house.

I’ve learned that my body actually handles gluten quite well. While in Switzerland, I experienced almost no side effects of eating bread or pasta. Brody, on the other hand, definitely feels it. As I mentioned in one of the Switzerland recaps, he had horrible stomach cramps our fifth day there. They started the day after a big pasta dinner, and probably all of the bread finally caught up to him.

Because I believe my body does okay with grains (as far as I can tell), I follow more of an 80/20 approach. I may have a piece of sprouted toast for breakfast or some pasta salad at a friend’s happy hour. Also, Brody and I made the decision to eat dairy, so I guess some people may not consider our diet Paleo/Primal.

Here’s a typical day of eats:

6:30am: two eggs fried in bacon fat, a piece of GF banana bread, and a cup or so of fruit

10:00am: a quick snack, maybe some mixed nuts or a Fage yogurt

12:00pm: leftovers from last night’s dinner, so often meat and roasted veggies, sometimes half an avocado, and another serving of fruit

4:00pm: another small snack such as a few chunks of cheese

6:00pm: a meat (flank steak, roasted chicken) and a vegetable (roasted broccoli or asparagus, baked potato)

8:00pm: a few pieces of dark chocolate

Brody’s daily eats are a little different from mine because he’s at work and going out to lunch every day. For breakfast, he eats a Larabar, and apple, and a yogurt. He keeps pistachios, cheese, and beef jerky at work for snacks or lunch in a pinch. Most days he has a salad for lunch. He’s then home for dinner for whatever I prepare.

Finley also doesn’t eat too many grains since we don’t have much in the house. She eats meat, fruit, vegetables, eggs, and yogurt. We do give her plain Cheerios and occasionally some Annie’s cheddar bunnies. She also had Annie’s mac and cheese this week for the first time and loved it. I’d say she’s about 80/20 Paleo also.

I’m not a strict Paleo/Primal eater, but I’m feeling good about the food I’m putting into my body. Along with changing our diet, I’ve started buying better quality meat and eggs. When I can get to Whole Foods, I load up on meat and freeze it. Otherwise my grocery store carries Strauss meats (in the frozen section), so I’ve been using their ground pork and chicken for recipes. I now buy Phil’s eggs, and at $2.69 a dozen, it’s not too pricey. Buying organic produce (probably because eat so much of it, which would be an argument either way) is still a struggle for me, so as of now, we eat mostly conventional.

Speaking of money, I don’t follow a weekly or monthly food budget, so I can’t say for certain how much more we’re spending, but it doesn’t feel like much more. No longer do I buy three 12-packs of soda at a time, crackers, or bread. As someone told me when I started eating this way, “You can pay for it now, or you can pay for it later.”

It’s been a whole lot easier than I ever thought it would be, and I don’t see us ever going back to being a grain-eating family again. As Mel just told me at lunch today, “You can’t unknow what you know.”

June Freezer Meals

Although I have no photos, I’ve got some delicious freezer meal recipes to share.

I feel so blessed to have found (and been invited to) this group. Last month I bowed out as many of the recipes called for grains that Brody and I are avoiding. (Side note: We’re still going strong following a Paleo/Primal lifestyle. An update on this is long overdue, no?). But this month, all but one meal were basically meat, and we eat a lot of meat around here.

To the assembly night, we each brought four pounds of chicken (for two separate meals) and two 1-lb flank steaks. Otherwise, one woman bought everything else. We each owed her $46 and ended up with ten meals.

Turkey Picadillo
*Apparently this is quite good but spicy. My friend made it and served it over rice which cuts the heat a little.

Beef Enchiladas
*Because this has flour tortillas, I’m bringing it to a lunch play date at a friend’s house next week. Brody’s been much stricter while I strive for more of an 80/20 approach, so I’ll be chowing down on these.

Turkey Burgers
*This recipe was doubled, so I have eight burgers in my freezer.

Sweet Hawaiian Crockpot Chicken

Marinated Chicken
*I had four large chicken breasts in my gallon ziplock, which gives us two meals.

Marinated Flank Steak
*I bought a two pound steak and cut it in half. This will give us two meals. Also, I don’t have a recipe for this one – if I get it, I’ll post it next month.

Italian Beef

*I’m not sure when or if I’ll make this one. Brody doesn’t care for slow cooked beef (texture issue), but it may be a perfect meal for a congrats-you-had-a-baby-and-don’t-have-time-to-shower-let-alone-cook situation.

Happy weekend folks!

Pool Party

Finley’s grandma gave her a pool for her birthday. Since we’ve been home from the cottage, we’ve already used it twice.

On Sunday, after being in the car for three hours, I thought Fin would enjoy trying it out. And she did.



Yesterday, it was quite warm, so we filled it up and let it sit in the sun to warm up while we walked to Starbucks (I needed a caffeine fix).

Finley played by herself for a bit. She also figured out she can crawl out of the pool, so not all the time was spent in the water.





The dogs also took advantage of the pool by using it as a giant water bowl.



Around 4:30, Finley’s friend showed up for a little pool party on our back deck. Leo, who is seven months, and his mama, Liz, came over for some splashing and chatting for an hour or so.



Finley followed Moose and Frankie’s lead and drank a bunch of the water. Don’t judge – I’m building up her immunity.

Cottage Weekend

This past weekend, we headed upnorth to my cottage in Lakewood. Even though the weather wasn’t the greatest, we still had a good time and were able to celebrate Finley’s birthday with my mom, sister, her bf, and my grandparents.

On Saturday, Brody and I went for a run soon after waking up while Finley hung out with Laura and Ben. We did six miles in 59 minutes, which is pretty good considering the hills around the lake.

In the afternoon Finley opened presents from my mom, sister, and grandparents.





For dinner, Brody grilled chicken, burgers, and brats over the firepit, and my sister contributed a couple sides. I was going to make potato salad but completely forgot to even bring the ingredients. I did bring broccoli to roast but also forgot about that until 15 minutes before dinner. Oh mommy brain.




Finley wasn’t as interested in this cupcake, but I think she was tired. My mom brought the cupcake and a sheet cake for the adults, and you better believe all the adults are their cake.





My sister’s bf brought his boat up, so on Sunday, we all took a ride around the lake. It’s been years since I’ve been on our lake in a boat, and how I missed it. One day maybe we’ll have a boat. My mom had an infant life jacket (hello 80s) that fit Finley perfectly!





Thanks to my sister for taking many of the photos in this post! I was pretty good about remembering to snap some but it’s always nice when someone else captures the moments, especially with a nice camera.

Finley Update: 1 year

*I wrote most of this post yesterday but never got a chance to finish or add pictures.

One year ago, I was in the hospital in labor. My water had broken the night before, and I was on Pitocin. At 11:53pm on June 19, Finley was born.

I just reread my birth story, and it seems like yesterday but also like ten years ago. Funny how time can be like that.



Life is pretty darn awesome in this area. Finley takes two naps a day of about an hour and fifteen minutes each. Sometimes she wakes up after 45 minutes, but that’s only if she has a dirty diaper. Her first nap is around 9am, and her second starts around 1:30pm. Finley goes down for the night at 7pm and wakes up between 6am and 6:30am. Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night, but lately, if I hold and rock her for a minute and put her back down, she rolls on to her belly and falls back asleep.

Eating (solids):

Finley loves food (still). She eats three meals a day and a snack or two. Her favorite foods are meat, fruit, roasted broccoli, eggs, toast with butter, cheese, and yogurt.


Eating (nursing):

Up until today, I had been nursing Finley four times a day. She nurses for the longest right away in the morning, but the other three sessions are quite short. Starting today I’m going to cut out the mid-morning one and replace it with food. Eventually we’ll probably get down to one or two feedings a day.


Summer makes everything SO much easier. Finley went swimming twice this week, went to a new play group sponsored by United Way, had a play date with her friend Braxton, and will “host” a play group at our house tomorrow.

I’ve started watching my two bonus babies again (25 months and 3 months), and Finley loves having kids around. She follows the oldest, Adalyn, around everywhere, and I bet she’ll walk (and maybe talk more) earlier because she wants to imitate and/or keep up with Ady.



Right before we went to Switzerland, it seemed like Finley’s mobility took off. Brody and I really saw it progress on vacation. She crawled (on her hands and knees) everywhere and pulled herself up on everything. Lately her balance is improving, and she often pulls her hands off and stands unassisted for many seconds at a time. She hasn’t taken any steps yet, but we’re okay with that.

Finley has eight teeth, but she may be currently teething. She’s been a little cranky for the last week, and she keeps putting her hand in her mouth. I’ve given her Tylenol and given her the paci.

A couple weeks ago, I weighed Finley on our scale, and she was almost 25 lbs. I’m not sure how long she is, and we don’t have her one year appointment until next month (I forgot to schedule it – whoops!). She’s a big (but proportionate) girl and wears lots of 12-18 and 18-24 month clothes. We’re still using size 3 diapers but will switch to size 4 once this pack runs out.

-pulling books off shelves
-standing and cruising
-climbing the stairs
-drinking water
-taking baths and putting the toys in the mesh bag
-throwing the books she doesn’t want to read out of our hands




-diaper rash (but who does?)
-some books (see the last like)
-the sun in her eyes
-being hungry (just like her mama) or tired


For her birthday, Brody came home from work early, and we opened presents. Finley got a couple dolls, a dump truck, a tricked out Radio Flyer, and a couple other small toys.



Aunt Erin gave her three adorable outfits from Mini Boden, and Grandma Lee gave Fin a wooden matching game with pictures of animals and stackable blocks. Thanks for all the gifts!

We prepared what we thought was her favorite meal: veal, and had roasted sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli on the side.


To our surprise, Finley was not interested in the veal…like, at all. Good thing I spent $30 on 1.5 lbs of veal from Whole Foods. One thing she did eat with gusto was a cupcake.


The rest of the night was normal: bath, nursing, books, and bed. This birthday girl was asleep by 7pm.

I love you Finley Marie.


Day in the Life [6-13-14]

6:00am: Finley woke up at 5:30am, and Brody brought her into our bed so we could all get a little more sleep.

7:00am: Brody has left for work, and Finley is nursing. It was nice to sleep in a little.

8:00am: We had breakfast and are now on a walk.



9:00am: I cut up a pineapple that is on the verge of going bad, and Finley pulls books off shelves.

10:00am: Finley naps, and I get ready for the day. I used a new shampoo that was in my Birchbox this month and LOVE it. My hair is smooth and slick. I had been using Moroccan Oil volumizing shampoo but I may need to switch. I also put on makeup, and as always I keep it simple.


11:00am: A little after 11am, Finley stirs, and even though she may fall back asleep, we have plans to meet Brody for lunch. I change her diaper and we drive to Ale Asylum.


12:00pm: And we’re back in the car already. It was a quick lunch (a delicious salad Brody ordered for me) because Brody and his friends have to leave for a golf outing.


1:00pm: Play time and reading in Finley’s room.


2:00pm: Finley fell asleep about ten minutes ago, and my mom, my friend’s mom, and my friend’s sister will be here any minute. They’re bringing bridesmaids dresses to try on.

3:00pm: A dress fits! The wedding isn’t until July 2015, so hopefully it still fits in a year. Finley is awake and we’re all watching her play. Unfortunately, she’s in a strange mood – very whiny, clingy, and just unhappy. She keeps putting her hands in her mouth, so I think it could be teething (the go-to reason for everything these days!). I give her a dose of Tylenol.


4:00pm: Our visitors take off.

5:00pm: We take a walk to Costco to order a few pictures. Finley is already rubbing her eyes, so I’m thinking it’s going to be an early night.


6:00pm: Finley is in a much better mood now that she’s got some food in her belly. She pulls diapers out of drawers.


7:00pm: The little one is asleep and Brody is home from golfing. The two of us eat tuna sandwiches on GF bread and watch Treme.

8:00pm: Another episode of Treme.

9:00pm: Bedtime!

Switzerland: Days 7-9 and the Flight Home

We’ve been home for a week now, and I’m happy to say that we’re all back on Central time and have been enjoying the start of summer in Wisconsin.

The last few days in Switzerland were similar to the others, with Finley controlling the schedule, a couple more hikes, and lots more food, wine, and chocolate.

Day 7 (Friday)

We didn’t go for a hike this day because Brody was still recovering from his stomach bug (or possible gluten overload…not really sure which). We kept it low key and took walks around the village and ran errands with my FIL and step-MIL after lunch.

Finley playing with my step-MIL’s 50 year old doll

That night my step-MIL made one of my favorite meals: fish soup. I meant to snap a photo of the recipe or find it online before I left but I forgot.


Day 8 (Saturday)

With Brody feeling like himself again, we had a great hike this day further up the mountain along the Bisse (the stream that winds down along the mountain). There were lots of other people along this path, so it wasn’t very private, but Finley liked seeing all the people and even a few dogs.



We stopped for a picnic lunch and took in the breathtaking views.


Surprisingly, Finley did not fall asleep on this hike, so while she slept back at the apartment, Brody and his dad drove back up to Montana to have a beer. I relaxed and caught up on some blog reading.

We appeased Finley and had veal again for dinner. This time the veal cutlets were lightly breaded and pan-fried. Finley loved them. That girl.

Day 9 (Sunday)

Our last day in Switzerland was like most of the others and included walks in the village, naps, and a really lovely hike.

Post morning nap, we¬†loaded up and set off for a hike from the village. This was a new hike for Brody and I, and Brody’s dad hadn’t done it for years. Brody claimed this was his favorite one of the vacation, and I might have to agree. The scenery was interesting and diverse and the path was both challenging and easy.

A cow says “Mooo”

Finley chowing down on half a banana

For dinner we grilled out again, and you better believe Finley had some veal. She ate two veal sausages (4-5 inches in length each), an entire orange, and some other odds and ends. Her appetite is pretty incredible.

Flight Home

The day began early at 6:30am. Finley woke up on her own, which always makes me happy to not have to wake her, and we left for the Geneva airport at 7:45am. The drive is about an hour and 45 minutes, and Finley took a short 40 minute snooze on the way.

It kind of stunk that the longest leg of our flight was through the day, but Finley did well and took two naps throughout the 8.5 hours. We kept her entertained with books (the Llama Llama books got A LOT of use), playing with toys, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (kind of), and eating. There was a two year old boy on the flight, and his dad brought him over a couple times so the two of them could stare at each other.

When we landed in Dulles, it was around 2:30pm, which felt like 9:30pm to us. Finley was happy, though, and had fun people watching while we went through customs and security again. On the flight, Finley took a brief nap in my arms.

Oh, O’Hare. You always cause problems. In Chicago, our gate was changed FIVE times before we finally took off…two hours late. There was bad weather earlier in the day, and it threw off all the later flights. At this point, Brody and I were both so tired; we had been awake for almost 24 hours. We’d pass Finley back and forth, trying to keep her entertained. She fell asleep in Brody’s arms around 9:30pm (which was 4:30am Switzerland time), and managed to stay asleep as he transferred her to me, as I boarded the plane, and through all but the last five minutes of the flight. At that point she woke up and was pissed. She’d nurse for a little, and then pull off and start wailing. I hope the people on the plane understood, but it was a small plane, and I know everyone could hear her loud and clear.

Madison has such a nice, small airport, and we were happy to see our bags were already on the belt by the time we got to the baggage area. We walked out to our neighbor waiting for us, loaded our bags, strapped Finley into the carseat for their son (front facing but at that point we weren’t about to be picky), and got home at 11:30pm.

It was a trip (literally and figuratively) and definitely a learning experience. There’s not a whole lot we would’ve done differently with traveling or while in Switzerland. Vacationing with a baby wasn’t like previous trips (duh!), but it was still relaxing and fun.

On a completely unrelated note, on this day two years ago, I ran a marathon. On this day one year ago, Finley was supposed to be born (she came nine days late). On this day today, I’m home with Finley; so far we played, went to a high school baseball game, and had lunch with an old coworker and her kids. We have a doctor’s appointment later and will take the dogs for a walk. To play off the theme of my friend’s recent post, June 10, 2014 wasn’t as “epic” as the last two, but I’m loving it all the same.

Switzerland: Days 4-6

Good morning!

Once again, Finley (and Brody, who has come down with a stomach bug) is asleep. Free time for this mama includes blog reading, showering, sweeping of the kitchen, and writing this.

I’ll spare you from all the minute details this time and tell you that our days are often as such: wake up, breakfast, play, walk, Finley naps, “adventure” and lunch, Finley naps, play, walk, dinner, Finley’s bedtime, wine and chocolate, and Treme.

Day 4 (Tuesday)

The big outing of the day was a trip to the grocery store in the town at the bottom of the mountain. Sounds like my life at home, right?

Another exciting moment was having a glass of wine down in The Cave (pronounced caahh-ve). Brody’s dad brought the wine cellar back to its true glory a couple years ago after it had been used as storage space for years. This was Finley’s first time in The Cave, and she got into the spirit of things by drinking (water) from a wine glass and ringing the cow bell.



Day 5 (Wednesday)

After Finley’s morning nap, we packed up and my step-MIL dropped us off at a wine museum for the start of a hike. For the first part, it was more of a walk through villages along paved roads. Once we got to the vineyards, though, it was dirt paths and open fields of grapes.




We stopped and had lunch in some shade: sandwiches for the adults and leftover veal for the baby.

My step-MIL then picked us up in the village where the hike officially ends, and we drove back home. Finley, surprisingly, did not fall asleep in the backpack or on the way home in the car.

For more dinners than not, Finley has been Miss Grumpy Pants. We can’t figure out why, and I realize it’s just a guessing game. She’s made dinners less than enjoyable, and this night was no exception. Dinner was creamy pasta with ham and peas, and I thought she’d like the pasta. But no. And we are out of veal.

Day 6 (Thursday)

Today we got another hike in, and this one was also one we’ve done years past. Brody’s dad drove us to the funicular (a rail car that goes up and down the mountain), which we took up to Montana. On the funicular were an adult goat and baby goat – so cute!




Once in Montana, we walked around for a bit and grabbed sandwiches from a bakery.


We ate at a picnic table and attempted to have a beer at Brody’s dad’s favorite spot (it was closed).

The hike back down to the car was over an hour, so we got started so that we could get home before Finley’s afternoon nap. Finley had other plans, though, and fell asleep in the backpack for the last thirty minutes of the hike. It began to rain as we walked, and then even turned into hail, all while Finley slept.


Her brief early afternoon nap threw off the routine, so we played in the family room and watched Up and Mary Poppins. Fin was more interested in Mary Poppins than Up, and eventually fell asleep in my arms. This was a nice treat because it so rarely happens anymore.


Unfortunately, Brody started to fell really awful this afternoon, and even stayed downstairs during dinner. Fin and I ate lamb chops, potatoes au gratin, and Lima beans with my in-laws. Not too surprisingly, Fin loved the lamb – she’s such a carnivore!

Three more days of vacation left and the trip home. It’s gone by slowly (in a very good way) and quickly at the same time. I’ve appreciated all the family time we’ve had, and also been so thankful that my in-laws are ridiculously accommodating (a full apartment, stocked with food, privacy, etc.) and understanding (planning everything around Finley’s sleeping schedule).